Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Options-Epilepsy

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  • Topic: Epilepsy, Seizure, Neurology
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Epilepsy Guide: Causes, Symptoms and …

Home › Harvard Health Topics A-Z › Epilepsy

What Is It?
Epilepsy is a nervous system condition. It causes repeated, sudden, brief changes in the brain's electrical activity. These changes cause various types of symptoms. Epileptic episodes are called seizures or convulsions. During a seizure, brain cells fire uncontrollably at up to four times their normal rate. Seizures temporarily affect the way a person behaves, moves, thinks or feels. There are two main types of seizures: A primary generalized seizure involves the entire brain. A partial seizure begins in one brain area. It affects only part of the brain. However, a partial seizure can turn into a generalized seizure.

Many conditions can affect the brain and trigger epilepsy. These include: Brain injury, either before or after birth Brain tumors Infections, especially meningitis and encephalitis Genetic conditions Abnormal blood vessels in the brain Lead poisoning In most people with epilepsy, the specific cause is unknown.

The symptoms of epilepsy vary. They depend on how much of the brain is affected, and where the affected area is located. Primary generalized seizures: Generalized tonic-clonic seizure (grand mal seizure) — The person loses consciousness. He or she falls to the ground and temporarily stops breathing. All body New Brain Tumor Therapy TomoRx, Robotics, New Technology USA treatment now in Singapore www.DrPre m

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muscles tense up at once for a short period. This is soon followed by a series of jerking movements. Some people also lose bowel or bladder control. The seizure episode may last for a few minutes. It is followed by a period of lethargy and confusion. There may be muscle soreness and a headache.

Epilepsy Guide: Causes, Symptoms and …
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Absence seizure (petit mal seizure) — Loss of consciousness is so brief that the person usually doesn't change position. For a few seconds, the person may: Have a blank stare Blink rapidly Make chewing movements Move an arm or leg rhythmically.

This type of seizure usually begins in childhood or early adolescence.

Partial (focal) seizures: Simple partial seizure —The person remains awake and aware. Symptoms vary depending on the brain area involved. They can include: Jerking movements in one part of the body An experience of abnormal smells, sounds, or changes in vision Nausea Emotional symptoms, such as unexplained fear or rage Complex partial seizure — The person may seem to be aware, but is briefly unresponsive. There may be: A blank stare Chewing or lip-smacking Repetitive movements of the hand Unusual behaviors

After the seizure, the person has no memory of the episode. Status epilepticus —Occurs when a person has a generalized seizure that lasts 20 minutes or more. It can also result from a series of seizures without fully regaining consciousness. This is a life-threatening medical emergency.

You may not have any seizure symptoms when you visit your doctor's office. For this reason, it is important to enlist the help of anyone who has witnessed your seizure. Ask that person to describe exactly what they saw: what happened at the start, what happened next. Write this description down for your doctor. This description will help your doctor determine the type of seizure you had. It will also help to decide on appropriate treatment. Having a seizure does not mean that a person has epilepsy. For example, it's common for children to have seizures associated with fever. Most children who have them do not...
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